Quick Tips for Financial Success: 3 Thoughts From Mission Health CFO Charles Ayscue

No matter how much "change" you witness in the healthcare industry, you will never see it all. Charles Ayscue takes on this mentality as CFO of Mission Health in Asheville, N.C., and it has led to him a long and tenured healthcare career.

Mr. Ayscue's professional healthcare career has spanned roughly three decades, and for 20 of those years before arriving at Mission, he managed the finances of the University of North Carolina Health Care in Chapel Hill. Staying abreast of industry and competitor trends and establishing the right networks has been a focal point for his and his organization's successes, and other hospital CFOs can improve their own organizations' fiscal foundations by following some of these tips.  

Question: What are some of your major goals right now as CFO of Mission Health?

Mission Health CFO Charles Ayscue always stays alert of industry trends.Charles Ayscue: There are four. One, ensuring that Mission's patient-focused quality teams have the resources needed to eliminate preventable patient harm. Two, completing a long-range financial plan to identify resources needed to underwrite the costs associated with Mission's updated strategic master facility plan. Three, evaluating and implementing the appropriate actions necessary to facilitate primary care network development, clinical integration and risk-bearing potential. And four, maintaining a positive operating margin to sustain our mission despite one of the most challenging payor mixes in all of North Carolina.

Q: What are the keys to positive operating margins at hospitals in communities like Asheville, N.C.?

CA: Mission has a bigger aim — to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, then also without waste and with an exceptional experience. That is our key.

[We are also] embarking upon a supply chain cost reduction initiative with our group purchasing organization, Premier, to ensure the lowest possible procurement costs.

Other keys are focusing on operational efficiencies — for example, improvement in surgery start times and improving overall operating room utilization to maximize capacity utilization and avoid excessive overhead — and utilizing effective benchmarking initiatives to constantly strive for excellence. Labor productivity benchmarking is essential.

Q: What type of information is most important to you in your day-to-day routine?

CA: We utilize analytics in healthcare to identify, prioritize and [measure] continuous improvement.

We also ask: What new technologies is Medicare considering for reimbursement? For example, we received the update May 1 that the new heart procedure transcatheter aortic valve replacement, which is performed at Mission, will be reimbursed.

Other information [to gather] is: How are my peers responding to clinical integration, and are they participating in accountable care organizations? What new benchmarks are the ratings agencies going to use, and how might that impact Mission's current AA bond rating?

More Articles on Hospital CFOs:

What Does it Take to Be a Hospital CFO Today? 6 Thoughts From Lowell General Hospital CFO Susan Green

Profit Potential: How Stamford Hospital Has Hit Positive Margins for 8 Consecutive Years

How to Cope in This Economic Climate: 4 Thoughts From Elkhart General CFO Kevin Higdon

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